Caladium or also known for its other common names Malanga, Elephant’s Ears, Stoplight, Seagull, Mother-in-law Plant, Pink Cloud, Texas Wonder, Angel-Wings, Exposition, and Candidum contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. Chewing or biting a part of the Caladium plant will release these crystals and will cause tissue penetration and irritation to the cat’s mouth.
What Is Caladium?
Caladium or scientifically known as Caladium hortulanum has distinct leaves that are thick, multicolored, and larger than the palm of your hand. Caladium plants are popular houseplants because each leaf appears to be carefully painted with dramatic hues of green, white, pink, and red. Although these tropical South American species flourish in hot, humid climes, they can also be grown as summer bulbs in milder areas, or even as houseplants in the correct conditions.
Clinical Signs of Caladium Poisoning in Cats
Aside from ingesting the Caladium plant, your cat may also experience Caladium poisoning if he or she was exposed to caladium oils or pierced by thorns. Symptoms can appear right away or take up to two hours after intake, and they can last for up to two weeks. Some of the signs of Caladium poisoning are:
- Eye irritation
- Inflammation of the skin
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Eye pain
- Lack of appetite
- Lip swelling
- Mouth pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Numb mouth
- Sore throat
- Swelling of the tongue and mouth
First Aid and Treatment of Caladium Poisoning in Cats
The veterinarian will most likely administer IV fluids to flush the toxins from your cat’s system. Antiemetics may be also given through your cat’s IV to control his or her vomiting. Oher treatment and medication may be also provided by the vet depending on your cat’s ailment.
Recovery from Caladium Poisoning in Cats
The cat will recover completely in the majority of cases within 12 to 24 hours of consumption. In extreme situations of gastrointestinal disturbance, such as continuous vomiting and diarrhea, the cat may need to be admitted to the veterinary facility and thoroughly watched. Once your cat is discharged, ask the veterinarian for supportive and preventive care measures that you should do for your cat to recuperate quickly and avoid recurrence of plant poisoning.
Prevention of Caladium Poisoning in Cats
Once you are sure that you do not have any growing caladiums in your yard and inside your home, check your neighborhood if there are sightings of this plant. Restrict your cat from going outdoors by keeping him or her busy inside your house. If necessary, build additional safety fences and nets around your house.
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